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As you undoubtedly noticed this morning in the Minor League Daily, the Chicago Cubs’ big signing of this international signing period, Juan Carlos Paniagua, made his Stateside debut in the AZL last night, throwing two hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out one, and walked one.

This debut, of course, was notable because it meant that, at long last, MLB had formally approved Paniagua’s contract with the Cubs, after two previous failed attempts with the Diamondbacks and Yankees. Those attempted signings were nullified after MLB concluded that Paniagua, who comes from the Dominican Republic, had used falsified documents in the process of becoming eligible to be signed by a big league team. This time around, the Cubs paid a $1.5 million bonus to Paniagua – more than 50% of their allotted bonus pool for this international signing period – indicating just how highly they think of him.

It also indicated that the Cubs didn’t have grave concerns about Paniagua’s eligibility to sign this time around. After all, had his contract not been approved, the Cubs would get their $1.5 million back, but they would have missed out on all of the big names in this class.

Further, the signing amount suggests that the Cubs don’t have any concerns about Paniagua’s true age, even if MLB is uncertain. A source tells Baseball America’s Ben Badler that MLB was unable or unwilling to formally determine Paniagua’s age, leaving the onus on the Cubs to accept the risk that he might be older than he says he is. Paniagua has used the same birthdate – April 4, 1990 – each time he’s tried to sign, so, although there were falsified documents at issue, I’m not really sure that age is a real concern, even if MLB declined to make a decision.

Paniagua, a hard-throwing righty with a quality changeup and slider, will probably finish out the year in Arizona – there isn’t much season left – before working in instructionals, or perhaps a winter league, before next season. Next year, he could start the season out as high as AA Tennessee, depending on how he looks. There are risks involved with any signing, and maybe more with Paniagua, but the amount of money the Cubs committed to him relative to their international signing pool tells me they see him as a potential top prospect in the system.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hey Brett, Badler tweeted this morning that Paniagua is going to count toward the 2012-2013 period. I dont really get why, but it kinda sucks.

    • JulioZuleta

      Actually it was in his BA article. I just asked him if it was a typo. I also asked hin if the Yanks should be pissed that MLB approved it under the same info this time and he said “I know sone teams think they should be”

      • JulioZuleta

        Nvm I’m a little slow. First week of Law School and my brain is already melting. 2012-2013 IS this year’s pool. Silly me. By the way, I’m not editing previous comments bc my phone won’t allow it.

        • TWC

          I’m not editing previous comments bc my phone won’t allow it.

          Nor will Brett’s website.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Never give people anything.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    more young latin blood for the club… i love this! so lets see what we got…ill be fallowing closely, as should all cub fans. the complexion of the farm has a bright future!

  • CubFan Paul

    Starter or Reliever?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Starter for as long as it lasts.

      • Flashfire

        Does that apply to Rizzo, too, at this point? (Half kidding.)

  • Tommy

    [img]http://www.google.com/imgres?start=95&hl=en&sa=X&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADRA_enUS479&tbm=isch&prmd=imvnso&tbnid=RJHLJp2z32TMYM:&imgrefurl=http://www.minideportesrd.com/%3Fp%3D8570&docid=dmrQFCHg3bRbKM&imgurl=http://www.minideportesrd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Juan-Carlos-Paniagua-con-Nao-Doe%2525C3%2525B1e.jpg&w=448&h=298&ei=y9s3UN-WLOOGyQGS2oDIDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1223&vpy=147&dur=499&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=133&ty=73&sig=100390736444411574800&page=4&tbnh=157&tbnw=205&ndsp=29&ved=1t:429,r:12,s:95,i:43&biw=1600&bih=736[/img]

  • Tommy

    [img]http://www.minideportesrd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Juan-Carlos-Paniagua-con-Nao-Doe%C3%B1e.jpg[/img]

    • Tommy

      Don’t worry – Carlos is the one on the right (or we’re in trouble about the age thing).

    • JR

      That’s a serious crotch grab by Juan Carlos.. I can tell he’s ready for the bigs already!

      • Tommy

        Yeah, and I’m not sure what’s going on with the handcuffs, but hey, rookie ball, right.

        • Eric

          those are so you can do arm strengthening. If you saw the Almora fluff video he was doing a simular excersize with pulling heavy chains left right left right.

      • abe

        lol

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Yeah, dude looks 25. You never know though. As long as he can get people out on a consistent basis, I don’t care how old he is. He could still be good for 10-12 years even if he is 25.

      • Eric

        f*** 25, I’m going with 31. There are alotta dudes that look young for their age too so maybe even older. Heck I’m 35 and I look maybe 25.

  • http://www.cwsnaturally.com Evolution

    I’m going to start falsifying my age.

    Officially, I’m 14…and, still a bedwetter.

  • die hard

    Luis Tiant lied about his age and didnt hurt him…he probably was over 50 when retired…if this kid pitches like Tiant bring him to spring training

  • ssckelley

    Does he crack the BA top 100?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No. But would crack the Cubs’ top 10, probably.

  • http://dodgers.com DodgerNation

    Go Dodgers got a bunch of PROVEN talent from the Re Sox Go LA!
    Dodgers RedSox trade

    • Eric

      who cares?

    • Flashfire

      If you want, we’ll trade you Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, and Randy Hundley for Zach Lee. More proven talent going your way!

      • hcs

        But the Cubs would first have to abtain Williams’ contract from the A’s. Unfortunately he didn’t retire a Cub.

        • hcs

          Damn, obtain. Must proofread.

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